The Sexual Assault Examiner (SAE) Program offers forensic evidence collection and post-sexual assault treatment for survivors of sexual violence who are at least 12 years of age. This initiative is in collaboration with Orange Regional Medical Center, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, and Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Sexual Assault Examiners are certified by the New York State Department of Health and specialize in the care and treatment of survivors of sexual violence. SAEs are also trained in forensic evidence collection and expert court testimony.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What is a forensic evidence collection kit?

A. DNA evidence from a crime like sexual assault can be collected from the crime scene, but it can also be collected from your body, clothes, and other personal belongings. You may choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam, sometimes known as a “rape kit,” to preserve possible DNA evidence and receive important medical care. You don’t have to report the crime to have an exam, but the process gives you the chance to safely store evidence should you decide to report at a later time.

Q. How do I maintain evidence before the exam?

A. If you are can, try to avoid activities that could potentially damage evidence such as:

  •      Bathing
  •      Showering
  •      Using the restroom
  •      Changing clothes
  •      Combing hair
  •      Cleaning up the area

It’s natural to want to go through these motions after a traumatic experience. If you have done any of these activities, you can still have an exam performed. You may want to bring a spare change of clothes with you to the hospital or health facility where you’re going to have the exam or clothes may be provided to you.

Any post-sexual assault treatment, forensic evidence collection, or medications given at the hospital will all be paid by the Office of Victim Services.

Q. What’s involved with a sexual assault forensic exam?

A. The steps below outline the general process for the exam. Remember, you can stop, pause, or skip steps at any time during the exam. It is entirely your choice.

  • Immediate care. If you have injuries that require immediate attention, those will be taken care of first.

  • History. You will be asked about your current medications, pre-existing conditions, and other questions pertaining to your health history. Some of the questions, such as those about recent consensual sexual activity, may seem very personal, but these questions are designed to ensure that DNA and other evidence collected from the exam can be connected to the perpetrator. You will also be asked about the details of what has happened to you to help identify all potential areas of injury as well as places on your body or clothes where evidence may be located.

  • Head-to-toe examination. This part of the exam may be based on your specific experience, which is why it is important to give an accurate history. It may include a full body examination, including internal examinations of the mouth, vagina, and/or anus. It may also include taking samples of blood, urine, swabs of body surface areas, and sometimes hair samples. The trained professional performing the exam may take photographs of your body to document injuries during the examination. With your permission, they may also collect items of clothing, including undergarments. Any other forms of physical evidence that are identified during the examination may be collected and packaged for analysis, such as a torn piece of the perpetrator’s clothing, a stray hair, or debris.

Follow up care. You may be offered medications that are a part of post sexual-assault treatment. These medications include: antibiotics to prevent sexually transmitted infections, nPep to prevent you from contracting HIV, Plan B emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, and any booster shots you may need such as tetanus. These medications require a follow up appointment with a medical professional. Depending on the circumstances and where you live, the exam site may schedule a follow up appointment, or you can ask about resources in your community that offer follow-up care for survivors of sexual assault. Someone from the exam site may also be able to provide information or resources about reporting options.

To connect with an advocate or get more information,
call the 24/7 Orange County Crisis Call Center at Dial 311.